Companies operating oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are ordering their workers to buckle down quickly, according to Rigzone, as a tropical storm barreling its way through the Caribbean is expected to hit drilling waters by early Friday. The National Hurricane Center states that the storm has a near 100% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Friday, with winds as high as 95 mph. The gulf is one of the highest producing oil regions in North America, accounting for 30% of total U.S. oil (NYSE:USO) output last year, and 7.6% of total natural gas production. Major energy companies in the area include Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA) which has ordered the evacuation of 70 “non-essential personnel” from its rigs. The company has said that production is not expected to be impacted by the storm. Other private sector luminaries in the gulf include BP (NYSE:BP), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), and Chevron (NYSE:CVX), who plan to monitor the developments closely.
Investors have reacted to the news with a few jitters, sending these oil stocks down in trading: